Thursday April 24, 2014   Last updated 03:06AM
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Waikato-Tainui fenced off from dam claim

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Waikato-Tainui's governing body is distancing itself from the challenge to the Government's state asset sell off.

The New Zealand Māori Council and the Waikato River Dams Trust, which represents hapū along the river, are in the High Court in Wellington this week arguing that selling shares in Mighty River Power will mean the Government can't respond appropriately if Māori subsequently prove they have proprietary rights to the water used by the state power generators.

Tom Roa, the chair of Tainui's Te Ara Taura executive, says the dams trust is not part of Waikato-Tainui Te Kauhanganui Incorporated.

He says Waikato Tainui is engaging with the Crown through the Freshwater Iwi Leaders Group on defining water rights, but it agrees with the Government's position that no one owns water.

"However ownership has different connotations. I believe in the legal governmental position to what we understand as ownership. For us ownership has an inclusive connotation. In the legal sense, ownership is exclusive, nobody else can have a share in what I own," he says.

Mr Roa says Waikato Tainui has no plans at them moment to buy shares in Mighty River Power or in the other state-owned generators when they are part-privatised.





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